Country & Western music (what it was called at the time) was conspicuously absent when I was growing up outside Boston. The closest I got was occasional viewing of television programs called Hee Haw or The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour (which may or may not have been pure Country music). It was only in college in Vermont (a state with more cows than people) that I discovered how this genre was the biggest-selling. I still did not become interested, beyond Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline (but that was Dylan, not Country).
As with many subjects, I have eclectic taste in music. I like bits and pieces of a variety of categories. I do not have a favorite. Only late in life did I discover Country music and come to like a few artists.
If someone held a gun at my head (a possibility in a country with so many handguns) and demanded that I name a favorite vocalist, I would answer Paulette Carlson. Most people will say: huh?, because most have probably never heard of her. I listen to her songs frequently (she's inspiring me in the background at the moment). She recorded so few song (with a group called Highway 101 or a single album called Love Goes On). She has a unique voice, and her songs have good melodies and intelligent lyrics (not always a strong point with Country). Anyone that has lost at love should listen to her song, Someone I Used To Know. It might help those of you that have dumped someone to understand the pain you caused. She can be found on YouTube, singing a song praising Vietnam Veterans, but that's not the reason to listen to her.
All award shows spawn countless critics, who moan about the choice of winners. Whiners always manage impeccable logic (symptom of opinion-havers everywhere) to counter any logic of the jury's selection process (another set of opinions). This woman did not receive the attention or fame she deserves. I'm happy that I discovered her...
Other Country favorites include Suzy Bogguss (listen to Aces), Nanci Griffith, Dixie Chicks (Travlin' Soldier almost made me cry, but I was that kid...sans girl to write home to), and Emmy Lou Harris (I like Pancho And Lefty, which is more ballad than true Country). I have a soft spot for Shania, but not all her songs.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.